The charming comic-book movie starring Zachary Levi, Shazam!, had quite an opening last weekend, raking in more than $53 million. With many moms crushing on Levi since his Chuck days and kids being familiar with Asher Angel from his role on Disney’s fantastic TV show Andi Mack, the movie has not surprisingly piqued the interest of many fans, young and old(er). But the question remains — is the movie appropriate for younger moviegoers?
According to Common Sense Media, Shazam! is just fine for kids 11 and older, noting that:
“Despite a few dark moments, this is the DC Extended Universe’s most lighthearted and tween-friendly film to date. It’s sure to appeal to younger kids, too, but be ready for lots of fantasy action violence, including a few deaths (some via disintegration), scary/disturbing “Seven Deadly Sins” monsters, gun use, chases/pursuits and crashes, property destruction, and big fights. Kids are also bullied. Language isn’t constant, but characters do say “ass,” “s–t,” “oh my God,” and more. And you can expect a little innuendo/suggestive humor, especially in scenes where characters go into a strip club. More serious themes include abandonment, disability, and more. But there are plenty of positive messages about the importance of family (the movie’s example of a loving, caring foster home is refreshing), generosity, courage, teamwork, and standing up for others.”
One parent of a 10-year-old took the time to write a positive review:
“Other than seeing the outside of the Gentleman’s Club, there is no sex and no allusions to sex nor anything sexy at all. There is no drinking, smoking, nor drugs. There is no bloody violence. Overall though this was a great movie. It was funny. We were laughing throughout. It also had good messages about friendship and family, as the main character Bobby becomes part of a foster family who he learns to bond with and love, and he learns how to become a good friend. I would recommend this movie if you think your child will not be too scared of the demon characters and understands not to “try this at home” (referring to the superhero power tests). Looking forward to the sequel.”
However, another parent was disappointed with the content:
“As other parents mentioned, CSM really missed the mark with this review and rated it as okay for younger viewers. This was definitely a PG13 movie and the Boardroom scene should’ve bumped the rating up to an R. I understand there isn’t much blood or gore, but the amount of violence is still completely unacceptable and scary. There is an explicit scene where a terrifying monster bites the head off a human as someone else is thrown out a window from a highrise and all the other humans in the room are annihilated. Thankfully there isn’t much sex or innuendo. However the two scenes that include the Gentlemen’s Club were not needed and did not go over the heads of my middle schoolers (which was a startling realization as a parent. That’s a conversation to come…) There was more unnecessary, bad language that I anticipated. I can handle the occasional sh*t or da*n but they were liberally sprinkled in along with “you can suck my b@lls”, as well as @ss and a tirade of f-bombs dropped by Santa Claus. Sure they were beeped out, but everyone in the theater understood what was going on. As an adult I enjoyed the movie and the humor but I would never have allowed my sensitive 12 year old to see it had I know the extent of the violence or references to stripping. I was *REALLY* disappointed with CSM’s review. I think they need to reconsider their rating on this movie and update it asap. I have relied on this website for years and would hate that so many parents feel duped by this rating.”
And yet another was put off by the “very scary demons”:
“Not at all the family movie advertised. 10 yr old covered her eyes half the movie and is sleeping with me tonight. Demons are far scarier than they should be in a kids movie. Horror show. Kid finds out his mother abandoned him by choice, shows the entrance of a strip club with woman’s neon form a bent over, shows heads being ripped off and faces being shot. Note the trailers for other movies are 20 minutes long and show Charlize Theron discussing favorite sexual positions. Why can’t they make a decent family movie?”
So, long story short: you’ll have to weigh positive messages with an F-bomb-dropping Santa. Good luck with that!